Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
Wool & Co.
107A W. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 444-0480, woolandcompany.com
When Lesley Edmondson decided to close Wool & Co. in the summer of 2016, longtime customer Angela Busby wanted to do something.
“I was devastated because I love having a local knitting store, and yarn isn’t something you can just buy online because you have to touch it and feel it,” Busby says. “The community needs something like this and it’s important to have a physical store.”
Instead of letting the business close, Busby and her husband, Andrew, purchased the beloved store in October 2016.
As it always has been, Wool & Co. is a full-service yarn and knitting specialist. Among other things, the store is equipped with a large assortment of yarns and needles.
The store also hosts knitting, crocheting and felting classes available for all skill levels.
“We continue to offer a lot of classes, and we are always bringing in new knitters,” Busby says. “We also have open-knitting times where people can come to the store and socialize and knit.”
Edmondson taught Busby how to knit seven years ago and today, Busby is sharing that passion with others.
“We’re passionate with what we are doing and we think we’ve created a special and unique spot in St. Charles for knitters to come together,” Busby says.
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
21 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, (815) 459-2084, materialgirlfabricshop.com
Whether your passion is quilting or crafting, Material Girl is a go-to source for area crafters.
Material Girl is a unique fabric, quilting and sewing studio located in downtown Crystal Lake providing more than 5,000 bolts of fabric and the latest sewing notions, buttons, books and patterns.
The business has been open since 2010. It operates in a space formerly occupied by The Fabric Shop, a similar retailer that had occupied the location since 1959.
Like its predecessor, Material Girl supplies ample portions of advice and special fabrics.
The staff at Material Girl have more than 200 combined years of sewing experience. Not only is the expert staff available to assist you while you’re in the store, but they’re also able to help through an extensive line of sewing classes hosted on-site. There are beginner classes, which teach the basics of the sewing machine and how to sew a straight line, and there are courses available for advanced sewers who want to learn skills such as quilt-making.
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. noon-3 p.m.
Gnarly Knots Pretzel Company
115 S. Hough St., Barrington, (847) 701-5668; 27W570 High Lake Road, Winfield, gnarlyknotspretzels.com
If you have an obsession for all things pretzels, Gnarly Knots Pretzel Company is right up your alley.
This family-owned bakery specializes in homemade, traditional Bavarian-style pretzels presented in an unusual way.
Barrington is the second location for the popular Gnarly Knots, which opened in the western suburb of Winfield in 2013. The Barrington location opened its doors last summer.
Like a regular, traditional pretzel, Gnarly Knots pretzels begin with a rolled-out dough. Then, they’re stuffed with a sweet or savory filling before being tossed, twisted, salted and baked.
Popular stuffed pretzels include pepperoni pizza, Cajun chicken and Italian beef. For a sweet dessert, try a cinnamon sugar pretzel.
The menu also includes classics like soft pretzels, pretzel buns, pretzel chips, and mini and giant pretzels. If that’s not enough, Gnarly Knots even puts pretzels in its cookies. If you want a unique birthday cake, try the massive birthday cake pretzel, which requires a one-day notice. It’s stuffed with cake, sprinkles and frosting, all rolled into balls and covered in chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles.
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
149 E. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, (815) 787-7683, kidstuffdekalb.com
Raising children can be costly. In 1999, Vickie Obermiller was tired of creating adorable outfits for her three daughters from clothing found at thrift stores and yard sales, so she opened her own shop to offer new and gently used products for children and parents alike.
“I wanted a shop that I could always find like-new items at a fraction of the original price in a kid-friendly environment,” says Obermiller.
The two floors overflow with colorful children’s toys of all shapes and sizes, rows of shelves with clothes and shoes for every age group, and an array of children’s furniture and equipment.
With an enormous selection of gently used maternity items covering XS to 3X sizes, the shop offers almost everything for families at any stage.
Obermiller even hosts special scrapbooking and craft events to get acquainted with her customers.
“Meeting everyone and helping parents find the perfect items that they’re looking for is what I enjoy most about running the store,” she says.
Hours: Tue.-Wed. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thu. to 6 p.m., Fri. to 7 p.m., Sat. to 5 p.m.